Imagine complete tranquility. I watch how the silky sun rays are spreading out over our little forest, touching the lake and floating over the grass. Like curious kittens, they’re playfully crawling closer and closer.
One of them touches me. I smile as it tickles me with the tip of its little tail. It’s like the sun is sending me a personal gift of warmth.
I am silent. I am present.
I feel alive.
The air is transparent. I begin to notice curves of tree branches, sharp fall colors of the leaves. A blue jay suddenly looks me directly in the eye, then turns and flies off.
I stand on my toes and stretch my arms as high as I can.
I touch the sky.
Have you ever tried to just be with yourself, if only for a brief moment? Leaving work, personal challenges and digital distractions aside?
How many times do you enjoy the beauty of the morning? How many of us have the strength to pull ourselves out of the abyss of the handheld universe?
Just being in the moment helps us re-connect with our core. Human beings need that connection with nature. It energizes us, it gives us strength. Once in a while, we need to breathe in this air of self-reflection. It opens up new worlds. It makes us hear our real thoughts. It makes us alive. And when we are alive, everyone will feel our presence better.
As Leo Babauta, a bestselling author of The Power of Less, and a popular blog,Zenhabits, shares: “If you are completely present, the external forces are no longer a problem, because there is only you and that external force, in this moment, and not a million other things you need to worry about.”
Need more proof?
If you are a data-driven person, look at the results of The Benefits of Being Present: Mindfulness and Its Role in Psychological Well-Being, by Kirk Warren Brown and Richard M. Ryan. The authors conducted numerous lab tests and clinical studies, and concluded that “being in the present” or being mindful brings humans enhanced self-awareness. Even more, the authors point out that this presence can actually help heal you. A clinical intervention study with cancer patients provided sufficient evidence that “increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress.”
Granted, it’s not easy to do. But it’s necessary to survive the informational tsunami. So how do you learn this vital skill?
Babauta suggests that you need to practice being present. “Here’s how to do it: whatever you’re doing, right now, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention: to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts.”
Practice being present as soon and as much as you can. And there is nothing better than doing it in nature. Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best in his workNature:
“But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches…One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime.”
Look at the stars. Share the treasures of your soul with someone you care about. Surprise them with something special.
And then, perhaps, you’d feel something similar to what I felt that day:
When I touched the sky,
It poured the joy
Of glowing sun rays
All over me:
They flew like snowflakes,
Falling hand in hand,
Until they gave their light away,
I felt alive,
I craved to see
A glimpse of silence
And every moment,
Every drop of time,
Between each heartbeat –
I just felt alive.
A cloud in the sky,
A touch of wind,
When I touched the sky,
I found my core,
I felt alive.
* * *
And now it’s your turn. Thanksgiving is the best time to fully appreciate this sense of being present. Be present for your family or someone you care about. Cherish these moments of love. They are precious. These moments will never return, but will stay in your memory forever.
So touch your sky. See your star. Write your poem. Sing your song. Share your dream.
Always be present for someone who needs you.
Because you will never regret this feeling.